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Missile caused mysterious 'lights' over Hawaiian islands

By Craig Gima

LAST UPDATED: 04:43 p.m. HST, May 21, 2014

The Defense Department conducted a test of a land-based missile system about the same time that mysterious lights were seen and photographed in the skies above Hawaii Tuesday evening.

The Missile Defense Agency, the U.S. Navy, and sailors at the Aegis Ashore Missile Defense Test Complex and Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai launched a land-based Aegis Standard Missile 3 Block IB guided missile. It was the first test of the new Aegis Ashore system.

During the test, a simulated ballistic missile target was acquired, tracked, and engaged by the Aegis Weapon System at about 7:35 p.m. Hawaii time Tuesday.

At about the same time, Hawaii residents reported seeing strange lights in the sky that looked like a missile contrail.

Stefan Alford, a spokesman for the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, said Wednesday that the lines were condensed water vapor trailing the missile twisted by upper level winds. 

Paul Javier, who took pictures of what he saw and sent them to the Star-Advertiser, said "It looked like a zig zagging meteor threading in and out of the night sky." 

The purpose of the missile test was to confirm that the Aegis Ashore system works by launching a land-based SM-3. 

A test missile target was not launched.

The Aegis Ashore system is similar to the launch system, fire control system, and SPY-1 radar used on Navy ships. The system is planned to be deployed in Romania in 2015 as part of the European missile defense shield.

The Pacific Missile Range Facility announced this month that they would be conducting a test.

Tuesday's test is the first of several planned at the Barking Sands, Kauai facility for the land-based Aegis system.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Masami wrote:
Wouldn't a missiles contrails go in a STRAIGHT LINE?????
on May 21,2014 | 07:08AM
paulokada wrote:
Guided Missile.
on May 21,2014 | 07:23AM
Slow wrote:
The simulated missile was designed to track and destroy one of Kim Jong Un's flying tin cans. They are not capable of flying in a straight line.
on May 21,2014 | 07:25AM
HOSSANA wrote:
Defense Dept. comes out with another idiotic spin!! Why don't they just admit it was an UFO so we can proceed from there in welcoming all these aliens that want to land in our paradise and maybe do us a favor and take all the damm homeless back to their "land of unknown origins" for experiments???
on May 21,2014 | 07:20AM
HOSSANA wrote:
Another spin by the Defense Dept!! Wouldn't it be easier to just say it was an UFO and maybe we can establish a welcoming party so they can land in our paradise and do us a favor by taking all our homeless back to whence they come from for experiments.
on May 21,2014 | 07:21AM
Slow wrote:
Yeah and take Norm Chow with them. Go Bows.
on May 21,2014 | 07:41AM
loquaciousone wrote:
I saw those lights last night and thought it was our Jenny Craig version of the Northern Lights.
on May 21,2014 | 07:36AM
hanoz808 wrote:
i like the UFO idea better!
on May 21,2014 | 07:37AM
joeglick wrote:
....until they show up in formations over every major city on Earth...yikes.
on May 21,2014 | 11:29AM
HOSSANA wrote:
Just saw MARS ATTACK starring Jack Nicholson the other nite and now these lights.....ha..ha....more than coincidence!!!
on May 21,2014 | 06:00PM
st1d wrote:
so, . . . romanians were able to come to hawaii to work (observe live missile launch) to confirm details for multi-million dollar deals? hope they brought pocket change to spend in the local markets.
on May 21,2014 | 07:40AM
st1d wrote:
sorry, should have included the reps from poland, as well, here to observe missile launch. with 24 missiles slated to go to each country, romania and poland, that would be a deal worth $1.5 to $2.0 billion at minimum.

important as both countries would bracket the ukraine and protect u.s. naval interests in the baltic and black seas.

on May 21,2014 | 07:52AM
kekelaward wrote:
Good to see the steering system is working as designed. Should be great to watch next next time, when they launch a target for it to intercept.

Nice picture of an unexpected event Paul. It kind of reminds me of when I was a kid here in the 60s and the were doing upper atmospheric barium rocket tests. Those were beautiful, but kind of eerie at the same time. I wasn't here during the Bikini experiments, but I've heard those lit up the night sky (my dad was on a destroyer in the area of those tests though...they did all kinds of dubious things with humans in the area of nuke tests in those days).

on May 21,2014 | 07:57AM
rayhawaii wrote:
Seen it plenty times before. Should go see the ones on the east coast more amazing.
on May 21,2014 | 08:04AM
FLIPTOP2 wrote:
So why did the Navy deny there being any testing going on? Could they not at least have let the news media know when the test would be conducted.
on May 21,2014 | 10:58AM
st1d wrote:
click on stories links in more from star advertiser after this article for previous articles providing prior notification and information on tuesday's test.
on May 21,2014 | 11:27AM
FLIPTOP2 wrote:
Saw no specific dates - just a general announcement. Perhaps because it was "spy-related."??
on May 21,2014 | 12:22PM
joeglick wrote:
Damn it Jim, I'm a doctor not an astronomer, but that was unusual. Shut up Bones...and give him the hypo.
on May 21,2014 | 11:26AM
joeglick wrote:
Jim, I'm a doctor, not an astronomer.
on May 21,2014 | 11:27AM
PokeStop wrote:
It's the smoke screen from one of Obama's military Drone! Had a difficult time tracking the Dolphins off of Ko Olina.
on May 21,2014 | 12:30PM
HD36 wrote:
How much is Europe paying us for developing an entire missile defense shield for them?> Doesn't matter as long as Raytheon gets paid I guessl
on May 21,2014 | 10:05PM
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